The Casual Challenge

When the situation calls for a truly casual look, it is always a challenge for me to develop a look that feels authentic. In summer, I find this task even more perplexing. For example, I do not own even one pair of shorts.

There are lots of jeans and tank tops in my wardrobe, but I feel most confident in them after I add heels and a blazer. Dressing to suit your personality helps everyone to feel more comfortable. Think of how miserable the man looks who has to wear a suit and tie for a particular function when he usually wears jeans and a tee with a ball cap.

I had some free time yesterday afternoon, so Mr. Mickey asked me to ride with him to make a delivery in Mountain City, where we planned to have lunch later. His company, RMJ Distributing Co., serves all of the Tri-Cities area for industrial cleaning and packing supplies. “Dress for riding in a delivery van,” he said.

My solution to this style dilemma was to wear my Keds Triple Decker silver slip-on sneakers from Saks Off 5th. The tee and long tunic style shirt are from Chico’s about two years ago. The white pull-on style jeans are by Tribal. The bag is from Express. I added a watch, ring, and a pair of hoop earrings to complete the look.

Below is an older photo to show how I wore this tunic on another day following my natural style tendencies.

When outdoors or riding in a vehicle for more than a few minutes, I apply sunscreen from Beautycounter found here. I want to prevent further sun damage because more and more “wisdom” spots are starting to show up.

  1. I think both shoes worked well with that ensemble! I share your tendency to favor blazers with jeans before I feel truly “dressed for the day”. I also need to add a small spritz of my current, favorite, seasonal scent. I haven’t been able to tolerate heels for years now, but I am hoping that with some of the lifestyle changes that I’ve been making that I’ll be able to wear some of the gorgeous styles I’ve seen on you in the future! Thanks Susan! Hope you enjoyed your day.

  2. Frankly, I hate shirts with pockets right over the boobs. I so wish manufacturers would leave off this design detail. This look on you is nice, but the super-long tail is not for me at 5’2″. Enjoy your blog!

  3. May I say a hearty congratulations on not owning a pair of shorts. When I see women our age — even slender, fit women — in shorts, they never seem to look as good as the younger ladies. Regardless of our weight, our bodies do change — the fascia isn’t as perky and there are other changes as well. We just don’t look quite the same. However, your solution is a lovely one and I for one am going to be embracing the advantages that dressing as a woman of a certain age brings with it. Brava, Susan.

  4. Both outfits are spot(or should I say stripe?)on. I am impressed with both and wouldn’t change a thing. You chose a great topic to share your wise views and perfect pictures on.
    I have always had sqeedgey knees so shorts were way down on my wardrobe list.
    And I laugh at your delivery “date” with Mr. Mickey, except with my husband and me it is going to Lowe’s.

  5. After watching Diane Gilman for years on HSN telling how she designs for “us”, I finally took the plunge. I live in Florida, and am so happy that I ordered Bermuda jean shorts from her DG2 line. They fit wonderfully and look stylish. Now I can wear shorts when I need to go out in incredibly hot weather, yet feel confident because they cover my upper legs completely.

  6. I can really see the difference in the two photos. In the second photo where you are wearing heels, the height of the heel offsets the length of the tunic, whereas wearing the casual flats makes it look almost like the tunic is way too big for you. I shy away from the very popular trend of having the top asymmetrical, or longer in back than in front because quite frankly, for me I feel the look is a little sloppy. And while my legs aren’t fabulous any more, I still wear shorts, usually with flat sandals or moccasins. I’ve hardly worn a pair of sneakers all summer. I guess you are rubbing off on me a little! 🙂

  7. I live in Palm Desert where the summer temperatures are 105-116. The coolest thing I have found to wear which still looks reasonable is one of those trapeze style, light cotton knit dresses which are sleeveless and have a rounded medium low neckline. The nice thing about this is if there any breeze or when you walk, the air surrounded your body.


  8. You look cute in your casual version of this outfit and attractive and polished in the more dressed up version.
    You talk about what makes you feel comfortable when you choose your outfit for the day. I love to dress up and do so when the mood strikes me. But, I also have days that shorts or jeans and a tee feel right. I don’t always wear makeup or maybe just a bit of blush & lip gloss. At 62 (next month) I have become comfortable in my own skin and some days natural fits the bill.
    I enjoy your blog…love to read it every morning!

  9. I agree with others that the long shirttail is trendy, and usually not flattering. If that was even
    the outfit would be great. I like a pair of Bermuda shorts with some really comfy memory
    foam slip ons. There are more and more comfortable shoes with a nice arch support, heal cup,
    and comfy foot bed in casual and upscale shoes.

  10. I like the stripes, pockets and the asymmmetrical hem. Works for me, with my pear shape and tallish height. I wear what suits me, and leave the rest. No cold shoulders for me. Likewise, no shorts, but flare crop pants look good on me — and to think I nearly didn’t try them.

    Enjoy the weekend!

  11. Live in South Fl. And shorts do not make me feel cooler. When skin touches skin or when you sit in a car and you stick to the seat or not it just feels uncomfortable and then there’s the insects. I really like your style I don’t care for the skinny leg jeans I prefer loose fitting linen or cotton with some flow it’s all about staying cool.i own jeans but mostly straight leg. I love the shoes. Heels or flats all good. Of course heels are the bomb , but I cannot wear them at all. Boo hoo. Jackets just sit in my closet rarely wear. It’s just too hot. But your advice and pictures are super.

  12. Hey Susan – just wanted to let you know I received the Quilted Chain Bag today (appreciative of how fast it got here) and I just love it. It has that classic “Chanel” look but at such an affordable price. Its exactly what I have been looking for and didn’t even have to leave my house to find it!!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. Susan, I’m almost 62 years old and also don’t wear shorts, but long pants seem to be too hot for humid summer days. I have a selection of summer dresses that “swing” and keep me comfy even on hot days. I wear them at home, too. Also – do you wear white shoes? Why or why not?

    1. I never wear white shoes, because they make my feet look huge and pink because I do not tan. Not a good look for me! Dresses only work for me if they come to the floor and I wear them with platforms. Short dresses would need to stop at mid-thigh which would not be appropriate.

  14. I had a chuckle with the white pants for riding in a delivery van! Obviously, Mr Mickey’s van is spotless! Nice outfit, Susan!

  15. I am so happy to have found your site. You inspire me. I have a “style” appointment at Chico’s next month….can’t wait. Please keep up the wonderful work. Shann

  16. LOVE the Keds! Cute look that is my style! So I appreciate your dressed up look that helps me know how to take a casual outfit and “date night” it up!

  17. I have to admit that style of shirt is tricky to wear even if you are tall. My solution was to shorten the shirt-tail a good 4″. I also like pockets on my shirts as that is a good feature for us smaller busted gals and it also acts as a modesty feature – I don’t have to be concerned which bra I’m wearing underneath.

  18. The challenge of dressing for casual days in high heat and humidity is an ongoing one for me and for a lot of us who live in Florida. Most of our year the temperatures are warm and the climate is very humid so we like suggestions for dressing casually and looking good. Layering with lightweight fabrics is the only way!
    Thanks for all your suggestions!
    Chris Waters

  19. Susan, this casual look is a great look for you. Love those grey sneakers — such a good neutral. I admire your style and business sense. I’ve appreciated your take on style ever since I read (years ago) you singing the praises of Emmanuelle Alt’s “if it works, let’s do it again” approach.

    As we well know, style isn’t fashion. It’s personal.

  20. I love the graffiti, which says “Hello sweetie”. I’m not from the US, but it seems like the Southern genteel stereotype I’ve heard of; even the graffiti is polite.

    1. I stopped eating meat and all processed food. I try to eat mostly plant based foods, as natural as possible and not a lot. Drink lots of purified water. Go for a walk as often as you can and for as long as you can go.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.